Week 8: Existential-Humanistic Therapy
“It is the client who knows what hurts, what directions to go, what problems are crucial, what experiences have been deeply buried.”

–Carl Rogers, from On Becoming a Person

This client-centered perspective is the cornerstone of existential-humanistic therapy, which requires therapists to “attempt to receive clients with curiosity and openness, endeavor to grasp their subjective world, and believe that clients are the experts on their own experience” (Wheeler, 2014, p. 373). As the psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, it is important to understand that the effectiveness of this approach is dependent on your relationship with clients, as well as your beliefs on holism and human nature.

This week, you will compare Existential-Humanistic therapy to a therapy you select from the previous weeks of this course.

Photo Credit: Laureate Education

Learning Resources
Required Readings
Wheeler, K. (Ed.). (2014). Psychotherapy for the advanced practice psychiatric nurse: A how-to guide for evidence-based practice (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company.

Chapter 10, “Humanistic-Existential and Solution-Focused Approaches to Psychotherapy” (Review pp. 369–406)
American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.

Nagy, T. F. (2011). Ethics in psychotherapy. In Essential ethics for psychologists: A primer for understanding and mastering core issues (pp. 185–198). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. doi:10.1037/12345-010

Required Media
Sommers-Flanagan, J., & Sommers-Flanagan, R. (2013). Counseling and psychotherapy theories in context and practice [Video file]. Mill Valley, CA: Psychotherapy.net.

Laureate Education (Producer). (2012b). Clinical supervision follow-up [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.

Note: This is a follow-up to the Thompson family media piece in Week 5. The approximate length of this media piece is 9 minutes.

Accessible player
Laureate Education (Producer). (2015d). On a hamster wheel [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.

Note: The approximate length of this media piece is 2 minutes.

Accessible player
Bugental J. (n.d.). Existential-humanistic psychotherapy [Video file]. Mill Valley, CA: Psychotherapy.net.

Optional Resources
Whiteley, J. M. (Producer). (1975). Rollo May on existential psychology. New York, NY: John Whiteley. [Streaming Video]. Retrieved from Alexander Street database.

Note: You will access this media from the Walden Library databases. The approximate length of this media piece is 35 minutes.

Steinert , T. (2016, October 3). Ethics of coercive treatment and misuse of psychiatry. Psychiatric Services. doi:10.1176/appi.ps.201600066.

Discussion: Comparing Existential-Humanistic Therapy to Other Types of Therapy
Understanding the strengths of each type of therapy and which type of therapy is most appropriate for each client is an essential skill of the Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. In this Discussion, you will compare Existential-Humanistic therapy to a therapy you select from the previous weeks of this course. You will identify the strengths and challenges of each and describe a fictional client that you think is best suited for each.

Learning Objectives
Students will:
Compare types of psychotherapy
To prepare:

Review this week’s Learning Resources
Review this week’s media and consider the insights provided.
Review the other types of psychotherapy presented in this course and select the one that resonates with you the most at this time
Note: For this Discussion, you are required to complete your initial post before you will be able to view and respond to your colleagues’ postings. Begin by clicking on the “Post to Discussion Question” link and then select “Create Thread” to complete your initial post. Remember, once you click Submit, you cannot delete or edit your own posts, and cannot post anonymously. Please check your post carefully before clicking Submit!

By Day 3
Post a summary of the psychotherapy that you selected and explain why it resonates with you the most at this time. Then compare the psychotherapy you selected with existential-humanistic therapy. What are the strengths and challenges of each type of psychotherapy? Describe a fictional client that you think would be best suited for the therapy you selected and one fictional client you think would be best suited for existential-humanistic therapy. Explain why.

By Day 6
Respond to at least two of your colleagues by providing feedback based on an existential-humanistic therapeutic perspective. Support your feedback with evidence-based literature.

Submission and Grading Information
Grading Criteria

To access your rubric:

Week 8 Discussion Rubric

Post by Day 3 and Respond by Day 6
To participate in this Discussion:

Week 8 Discussion

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